To Your Health: Wearing high heels? You’re probably in pain right now

shoesThis summer the American Podiatric Medical Association put out a survey aimed at measuring “public opinion on foot health and care.”

Not surprisingly, the survey found, most of us don’t think much about our feet – until they start to hurt.

The fact that U.S. adults don’t care about their feet as much as they do about the rest of their bodies, including their teeth and their eyes, might help explain why so many women still regularly wear high heels.

According to the survey, nearly half of U.S. women report wearing high heels. And the most common cause of foot pain among these high-heel wearers is, you guessed it, their shoes.

Some 71 percent of women who wear high heels say they experience foot pain.

But the survey did have some good news.

For one, women aren’t wearing high heels every day. About 45 percent of those surveyed said they rarely wear them, and 39 percent said they wear high heels about once a week.

Now, the podiatric association isn’t asking women to give up their high heels. Rather, women should wear high heels for short periods (not all day), and should steer clear of the super-stilettos.

“With high heels, moderation is key,” Matthew G. Garoufalis, past president of APMA, said in a news release. “Daily heel-wearing can cause the Achilles tendon, the strong tendon at the back of your ankle, to shrink. This increases your risk of an injury while doing activities in flat shoes, including exercise.”

Other tips for avoiding pain from high heels:

• Don’t wear heels higher than two inches. Anything above three inches shifts your body weight forward and puts pressure on your toes and the balls of your feet.

• Alternate the height of the heels you wear.

• Choose shoes with wider, more stable heels, and that have ample room for your toes.

• Shop for shoes at the end of the day, when your feet are a wee bit bigger.

• Don’t wear your heels when you’re walking or standing for long.

Oh, and one more fun fact from the survey: Women who wear high heels had, on average, nine pairs in their closets.

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